NSW Government Introduces Fire Safety Reforms
The NSW Government has introduced reforms to fire safety to strengthen the state’s building regulation and certification systems. The reforms mean that compulsory competent fire safety practitioner registration is now in force for annual fire safety statements (AFSS).
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Compulsory fire safety practitioner registration now in force
On 1 July, 2020, the Secretary of the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation (now integrated under the Department of Customer Service) formally approved the Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS). The scheme is mandated throughout New South Wales under section 59 of the Building and Development Certifiers Act 2018.
This mandate follows 2019 discussions to determine the criteria for accreditation with the Fire Protection Agency of Australia (FPAA). As well as discussions in discerning which practitioners are eligible to perform the ‘regulated work’ of conducting fire safety measures assessments recorded on a building’s AFSS.
This regulatory change is part of greater building industry reforms and the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020, which passed in early June this year.
Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson said, ‘We have now strengthened the regulation of building certifiers, improving their accountability and independence and providing greater protections for consumers.’
What does the new framework mean?
Previously, building owners were required to determine who is a competent fire safety practitioner to assess essential fire safety measures. Under the new regulations, only individuals with appropriate FPAA accreditation can assess the statutory fire safety measures recorded on a building’s AFSS.
As stated on the NSW Government website:
‘Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (EP&A Regulation), CFSPs must:
- Endorse plans and specifications for relevant fire safety systems.
- Endorse fire safety performance solution reports.
- Endorse exemptions to the Building Code of Australia for minor works to existing fire safety systems.
- Assess the ongoing performance of fire safety systems for annual fire safety statements.’
What is a competent fire safety practitioner?
A competent fire safety practitioner is an individual who has gained Fire Safety Assessment (FSA) accreditation. To become accredited, you must demonstrate the required knowledge, skill and experience to perform the fire safety assessor role. Additionally, you must hold appropriate insurance and agree to and abide by the FPAA Australia Code of Professional Conduct.
How do you become a competent fire safety practitioner?
The FSA class of FPAS Accreditation accredits individuals who are assessed on the performance capability of fire safety measures to inform an annual or supplementary Fire Safety Statement.
This class of accreditation has been designed to address the requirements for certain fire protection work in New South Wales. Work is to be carried out by a ‘competent fire safety practitioner’ under the state’s 2017 fire safety reforms. Once registered with the FPAA, an individual is deemed an ‘Accredited practitioner (fire safety)’ under the Building and Development Certifiers Act 2018 and can perform ‘regulated work’.
Where can I find a Certified Practitioner?
Hendry has a team of certified fire safety engineers and practitioners in New South Wales, able to conduct inspections and provide the necessary information regarding compliance and assessment for all building fire safety measures.